Lady Panthers overcome early deficit to advance to elite eight

Isabel Fernandez (23) cuts off a Westfield dribbler's advance in the second half.

TIFTON — High school basketball picks up steam this week, with Tiftarea Academy and Tift County teams jumping with both feet into their 2022-23 schedules.

Both teams have two games scheduled this week.

Tiftarea debuts Tuesday, Nov. 29 against Windsor Academy at the Chuladome. They will have another home game Dec. 2 against Southwest Georgia Academy.

Tift County will wait until Friday, Dec. 2 to fully get going. The Lady Devils have played three games so far, with the Blue Devils not on the court yet. That changes on Dec. 2 with both squads going to Cook. A night later, they will play at Valdosta.

The Lady Panthers of Tiftarea were a state tournament team in 2021-22, defeating Westfield in the first round before falling to Holy Spirit Prep. Many from that team are back and Elli Bryan is aiming towards 1,000 points for her high school career.

Tift’s Lady Devils are 1-2, with the latter of the two losses being close to Peachtree Ridge, a Class 7A top 10 team. They have defeated Camden County. O’ashia Cushion and Mya Cushion have been the early scoring leaders for Tift.

One season ago, the Lady Devils finished in the Sweet 16, with a three-point loss to Norcross ending their season. Norcross went on to win the state championship in 7A..

The Blue Devils were felled in the first round of the state tournament and return nearly all of their scoring options from 2021-22.

Tift’s first home game of the year will be Dec. 9, boys only against Coffee. Both teams are home Dec. 13 against Westover.

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